NYC Last Week
Ain't no cure for the summertime flu

SITE Santa Fe Biennial

Experimentation, Ephemeral, Experience, Collaboration, and Community. These are the five words that Lance Fung, curator of the SITE Santa Fe Biennial, Lucky Number Seven, used to describe the essence of the art experiences.

Yesterday, I attended a walk-thru and lecture given by Lance to prepare the guides and docents. I believe the hype that this is a totally different framework for an artistic experience for artists, communities, and the art world. In order to free the artists from the constrains of market driven pressures, the works commissioned from the 22 emerging artists had to be hand-made and ephemeral. The idea is that if the artist knows that the work will never go to market because it is recycled, reused, destroyed, or in some very special cases, gifted to children or a community; he or she will produce more experimental art.

What most impresses me, as an anthropologist, was Lance's desire to make the Biennial a collaborative experience. All the work had to be site-specific to Santa Fe. So the artists were brought all together last April to visit Santa Fe and get to learn about one another. They spoke with community members and everyday Santa Feans. They visited museums, pueblos, Los Alamos, Roswell, etc.  These experience resulted in not just community among the artists (which as he narrated is very rare for an art exhibit) but also community between the artists and Santa Fe's multiple communities (Anglo, Hispanic, Latino, Native American, etc.) Much of the work, such as the Hiroshi FujiSan's project with the recycled bottles, were local + artist collaborations, including a slew of interns from all over.

The Biennial is going to be an amazing experience of art, but my experience of participating as a volunteer really reflects the essence of what it is about. Through my participation, I've experimented with new forms of expression (plastic bottle sculptures), my presence is ephemeral (I leave in five weeks), I've had and shared amazing experiences with people through collaboration, and most important, I've found a community. It will probably be Diasporic, but I will share a bond with everyone who I met.

The Biennial opens this Friday, if you are in the area, do come.  Here is the link to the Biennial documentary, check out Lance's video and the video's of the artists.

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